Continuing the long tradition of Doctor Who joining forces with Children in Need, David Tennant is to star in a special scene broadcast on Friday November 17 during the BBC fundraising TV event. The BBC is billing the scene as “the Fourteenth Doctor in his first adventure” ahead of three 60th anniversary specials airing on Saturday nights from November 25.
Written by showrunner Russell T Davies, the Children in Need-exclusive scene’s official synopsis promises that the Doctor will uncover “an age old mystery involving one of his oldest foes.”
Which foe that is doesn’t appear to be a mystery, as you can tell from the official image above.
It’s a Dalek. After suggesting that the Daleks had been overused on Doctor Who of late and were perhaps deserving of a little rest, Davies has whacked them right into the Fourteenth Doctor’s very first scene. Fun and games.
The second teaser image (below) is the really interesting one. It features actor-writer-comedian Mawaan Rizwan (Juice, Taskmaster), who’s starring with Tennant in the Children in Need scene, as “a mysterious new character”. Except, he’s not entirely mysterious, because he’s clearly wearing the uniform of a Kaled, and apparently goes by the name of Mr Castavillian (cast-a-villain?).
See the little eye-shaped symbol with the Fascist lightning bolts coming out of it on his lapels? Doctor Who fans have seen that uniform before, on the backs of the Nazi-alike alien race to which Dalek creator Davros belonged. Below, it’s worn by Kaled security head Nyder (who – not that you can see it in this crop – also has a little Iron Cross around his neck, just to drive the ‘authoritarian bad guys’ point home.)
Davros, to give a very brief overview, was the head of the Kaled Scientific Elite on the planet Skaro, and the creator of the mutated Dalek race and their travel machines in an attempt to end to the raging Khaled/Thal war. It sort of worked, but only in that his creations’ obsession with racial purity led them to exterminate pretty much everybody – Kaled and Thal alike.
If Mawaan Rizwan is playing a Kaled, that points to a famous period in the Doctor Who timeline, and perhaps to one of Classic Who’s most famous stories: “Genesis of the Daleks”. The six-part serial originally aired in 1975, and saw Tom Baker’s Fourth Doctor sent back to when Davros was first creating the Daleks on Skaro for a kind of ‘kill Hitler as a baby/convince Hitler not to be a baby’ mission.
All of which leaves us with the question of when this special scene fits in to the Fourteenth Doctor’s story? Is this what happens immediately after that surprise regeneration at the end of “The Power of the Doctor” and before the TARDIS returns to Earth for Donna Noble adventure “The Star Beast”? Friday will tell, but if you’ve kept up with Fourteenth Doctor comic story “Liberation of the Daleks”, you may already have answers.
Anybody who feels like a refresher ahead of the Children in Need special scene can stream “Genesis of the Daleks” and other Skaro-based episodes in the UK on BBC iPlayer as part of the streamer’s Whoniverse division. But don’t worry at all if you’re not up on all the backstory, Russell T Davies is guaranteed to make this stuff accessible to newcomers. It’s what he does.
A behind-the-scenes look at the making of the scene will also air during Children in Need, as an introduction to new companion series Doctor Who Unleashed.
Speaking about the new scene, Tennant had this to say:
“Every year that I was on Doctor Who we did something for BBC Children in Need, so it only feels right to be doing something this year. Children in Need is a national tradition, it’s certainly a BBC tradition and Doctor Who is part of that. I’m so glad we’re able to give Children in Need viewers this little extra treat.”
“It was such an unbelievable joy to work with my Whoniverse idols David Tennant and Russell T Davies. My inner child was losing his mind on set.”
There’s lovely. Tune in to Children in Need from 7pm on Friday November 17 to watch the scene, and if you’re able to, please consider making a donation.
Doctor Who returns on Saturday November 25 with “The Star Beast”, airing on BBC One, BBC iPlayer and Disney+.